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Ferris State allows students to have pets in dorms

By Rayvin Bleu and Hannah Mose

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    BIG RAPIDS, Michigan (WNEM) — Furry friends are flocking to Ferris State as students there now have the chance to bring their companions to their dorms.

“Ferris just really listened to the voices of our students. They requested this, they encourage this, and they seem to be responding positively to it,” said Lisa Ortiz, the director of housing and residence life at Ferris State University.

As Ferris State University students begin their semester, four-legged furry and even scaly friends are joining the ranks of campus residents.

This semester the school has kicked off its new pet-friendly policy.

“We made the decision to start a pilot program in one of our resident traditional residence halls, Kramer Hall,” Ortiz said. “There’s a floor this year for students to bring their pets with them.”

She said some residents were feeling homesick and a little depressed being away from their pets.

“All of these students went through COVID where their animals are part of their daily life when they weren’t attending school. All of that builds a connection that you can’t break that easily and many of our students were finding that they were lonely and a little homesick,” Ortiz explained.

Ortiz said having their pets on campus with them can help students be more responsible and aid in their time management skills.

“It’s a high level of responsibility to own a pet. You have to be home, you have to clean, you have to feed them, you have to water them, you have to walk them. You have to make sure that they feel comfortable in their environment,” she said.

Students can bring household pets like dogs, cats, and even a snake, but Ortiz said students must have at least a six-month relationship with the animal and pay an upfront, one-time, non-refundable deposit of $250 for cleaning after the pet leaves.

The program has also taken into consideration students who may have allergies to animals.

“By creating one building, people with allergies have the choice not to live there. There’s plenty of other spaces on campus that students can choose to live in that would not be a pet-friendly environment,” Ortiz said.

For now, the pets have a new home on the second floor of Kramer Hall with hopes of expanding.

Anyone who wants to bring a pet will also have to bring proof of shots and spaying or neutering.

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